Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Comic review: MLP Friends Forever #12: Twilight and Pinkie Pie

MLP Friends Forever #12 subscription cover
I had a biscuit that looked awfully like that yesterday
As advertised yesterday, it's time to look at the latest IDW My Little Pony comic. This time, the Friends Forever series is teaming up Twilight and Pinkie. I sometimes have mixed feelings when FF uses two Mane Sixers, as there are so many other characters who could be used, but if it's done well then I won't complain. This is only Barbara Randall Kesel's second Pony comic, and given that her previous outing was the iffy Fluttershy micro back in May 2013, I wasn't sure what to expect when she linked up with the more experienced Brenda Hickey and the near-ubiquitous Heather Breckel. Read on to find out!

This is an enjoyable comic, playing to the strengths of Friends Forever's format. When the annual snack cart carnival visits Ponyville, Pinkie Pie asks Twilight for help in cutting off her cravings for the amazing snack food "Phenomnomenons". Yes, folks: this is a My Little Pony story about drug addiction. Well, sort of. Twilight, of course, is utterly confident that she can succeed in her mission to wean her friend off the sweets, but quickly discovers that, when Pinkie is involved, things are rarely as simple as that...

Twilight agrees to help Pinkie Pie
I'm not saying it's the right solution, mind...
I really like Hickey's artwork in this issue. There are one or two spots where things don't quite seem right, but for the most part it's just as you'd expect a comic about Pinkie and mounds of sugar to look – which is to say, very odd. There's huge variety in panel design: on a number of occasions, one large panel does the work of several smaller ones. At one point, we're even treated to a double-page spread board game, though sadly it's not quite well-developed enough for readers to play for real.

Kesel does a very good job with the characterisation, even managing to stop Pinkamena (yes, there's Pinkamena in this comic) from tipping over the edge from slightly worrying into outright terrifying. Twilight is far, far more believable here than she was in the embarrassing mess that was issue #25 of the main series. There's almost no space for supporting characters, since the action starring the principals (especially Pinkie) never really lets up, although Spike is amusing in a peripheral way.

Twilight and Pinkie as Pac-man characters
I suppose Twilight could be Inky to Pinkie's, er, Pinky
The biggest references is of course Pinkamena, but there are a few others: Wheat Grass turns up as a stall-holder, while external nods are a little more plentiful. The most controversial is Twilight's "CHEEZburger" swear-censor, which I found distracting even in a comic heavily featuring Pinkie. Much more fun is the Pac-man game, while there's a little nod to older readers with Pinkie's head doing a Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas in one panel. Oh, and a reference to some anime or other, but I don't care about those.

All in all, I was very pleased with this issue of Friends Forever. It doesn't try too hard, the situations in which the ponies are placed seem right and the ending isn't too rushed. Certain other people could learn a lesson from this. Add to that some bright, colourful and in some cases downright hilarious artwork, a Pinkie who properly combines complete off-the-wallness with genuine heart and a Twilight who feels like Twilight, and you have a very nice comic. The best FF since the Applejack/Rarity issue and an easy recommendation.

Pinkie shows a monkey to Twiilght while the snack bell rings
Judging by the blue balloon, this is all Luna's fault
  • Attractive, varied artwork
  • Pinkie is very well characterised
  • Twilight is believable
  • Good pacing
  • The rather forced Cheezburger reference


  1. I really liked this comic as well. It was funny, but also had a deeper subtext regarding the extreme difficulty of self-denial of addictive substances. Those drug dealers, erm, I mean snack vendors were increasingly eerie towards the end! (I bet those snacks were drugged...)

    "A reference to some anime or other, but I don't care about those" - GASP! By sheer coincidence, I'm working with a friend to do a pony comic series called Luna Academy that's inspired by that anime!

    1. It's hard sometimes, being a fan of comics practically all of whose creators seem to be anime obsessives! Heather Breckel talked about anime a lot in her BUCK panel, and I mostly didn't have a clue who the characters she referred to actually were... :S

  2. This was the first of the Friends Forever issues that I've brought since issue 8 (if I've got that right - the Rarity and Applejack issue?) so it was something of a gamble. But the fact that it featured Pinkie was a bit of a lure, and it seemed an intriguing story with Twilight as well. So I thought it had to be worth a try. And I'm certainly very glad I did!

    I can't really add much to what you said in the review to be honest, because it pretty much says it all. But I certainly think they got the "manic" feel right, which seemed very appropriate considering Pinkie's sugar overdosing. I think they managed to capture that feeling of "what on earth is going on?!" just right, and the panels were very creative at times. (Especially that nifty little board game which I hope will be marketed one day as Cakes And Ladders. ;) ) And there seemed something extremely sinister, to me anyway, about Pinkamena's near-snarled "I'm not feeling very friendly right now..." *Shiver*

    Apart from the really obvious references (Pac-man for example) I didn't actually notice many of the others, such as the "Fear & Loathing" reference, so thanks for pointing those out. Also, I didn't notice that blue balloon even though it was pretty obvious! (Or is it a Baluna?)

    All in all a very well put together issue and some wonderfully silly expressions at times - a definite "cheer me up" issue if ever there was one. :)

    1. Not a lot to say to that, really, since I agree with it all! But I will say that I'd like to see this creative team work on other MLP comics in the future. :)